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tv   [untitled]    May 24, 2012 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT

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but if i can ask general ingraham toward the end of president bush's administration national guard were deployed along the border to assist with immigration issues. you made a slight reference to that, i believe. i wonder if you can tell me how successful that was, whether some of that is still going on or not in terms of our border control activities? i think it was in support of the -- those whose job it is to secure the border. >> senator you are correct. that is for customs and border patrol. that mission has changed slightly. this year that mission changed from 1200 people to 300 people. and it moved from a ground mission to an aerial mission where we're use 3g 00 soldiers flying 19 helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft along with analyst tons ground to help interpret the data for the
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border patrol from the information that's gained from those aircraft. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator coats. >> i want to follow up on senator alexander's question relative to the a-10. really it's a similar situation here where a decision has been made to retire a certain model of aircraft and replace it with others. i know there have been negotiation going on between the guard and the air force. and then referencing the action that the house recently took to delay all this for a year. if you could apply that now back down to the a-10 situation, what is the -- what is the status of those negotiations? is this a done deal? is the final decision been made? is there more consideration to
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be undertaken? general wyatt. >> very similar situation to tennessee as with all the states. but a little bit different -- significantly different input from the air national guard. our input in corporate process was to suggest alternative ways to meet the emerging strategy with a-10s, which as you know play a crucial role in close air support iraq and afghanistan. in fact, we have air guard a-10s in theater right now as we speak. but some of those suggestions were not accepted by the air force as we went forward. alternatively missions were proposed for the unit at ft. wayne, indiana. and those are included in pb 13. the status of the negotiations
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between the council of governors and secretary panetta, i think have concluded. although at any point in time obviously the secretary has a prerogative with the counsel of governors a dialogue to reengage. i think a counterproposal was made that did not include anything related to the indiana air guard or the a-10s. my understanding is that the council of governors have respectfully declined the offer of secretary panetta to reach a compromise. so we're waiting to see what happens with pb 13. but in the meantime as i indicated we need to start moving toward at least taking a look at implementing the pb as it has been proposed unless we're told something different by congress. >> again, to follow on senator alexander's question. if what the house passed becomes law, which -- would you
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anticipate the status of current a-10 fleets being? are they going to be hangar queens and sit there no mission for them just waiting out the year or -- what's your take on that? >> my take is if that happens, we would hope there would be sufficient funds to continue operating that's a great unit in ft. wayne. they're already trained. as i've said they've rendered great support to operations in iraq and afghanistan. our intention would be to continue with continuation training, keeping that unit operational for as long as possible. we may have to dial back or dial down the level of continuation training which would be very difficult to do and maintain our combat status ready to go. it would be a difficult thing to do. but we give us our best shot depending upon the level of funding that came along with the house proposal. >> but again, it's something that's going to have to be
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decided by the secretary and the chief of the air force so it's -- i guess there's a possibility that they wouldn't be operational during that one year holding period. that would be my concern. >> that is a possibility, sir. >> i wonder what affect that might have on the plan to follow up on the isr aircraft. >> it would be obviously delayed. the part that i'm concerned about is the people because as i go out and visit units, the thing that i'm hearing is concern about an indefinite future. about what is the future of my unit. what is the future of my job. is it going to be the same, is it going to be different, is it going to be here at all? i mentioned a little bit about the volunteerism that we have in the air national guard. our recruiting and retention continues to be strong even in spite of pb 13 and the
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operations tempo. but where i'm starting to see some stress on my folks is that our retention numbers. we had great volunteerism. our people stick with us a long time. our retention numbers are beginning to drop. i contribute that to the air force's 13 pb. it has had a more detrimental effect on numbers than 20 years of operational combat has had. i think that uncertainty is beginning to take a toll on our people wondering about their futures and do we have time to invest in a unit that may not be here next year or maybe change into a mission that we don't know what that might be. >> thank you. if i can shift to a ground vehicle, the humvee was mentioned general mckinley in your opening statement. 60% are 20 years old or more. what's the -- what is the take
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on what you need. i think you mentioned modernization. some have mentioned upgrading existing pleat. others say it's more cost effective to just go to the more modernized vehicle. i'm not sure if general ingraham or you general mckinley is the best one to answer this. what's the story? >> thanks for the question, senator. i'm in receipt of letters from generals in support of purchasing new humvees. i am the channel of communication between the states and the department. so we have forwarded those letters of support. general ingraham can talk about the percentages. i would say strategically across both air and army guard this generation of soldier and airman have joined our services and joined the guard specifically to be used, to operate first line equipment, to be part of the
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team that goes forward either here at home for domestic emergencies or to support our army and our air force. so recapitalization across our fleet to include ground vehicles has got to be factored in. we've got to fight hard with our services to make sure that the balance and the proportions are right or some of these young men and women who joined us since september 11th, 2001, we're not going to be as excited about their role in the national guard. i'll let bill comment specifically on your question. >> senator, on the humvee fleet, we have some of the oldest humvees in the inventory for the army. i guess the question at this moment is do we recapitalize the ones that we have or do we as the army buys the next generational, we should get a
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proportionate share of hose vehicles. the question is do we keep a number of humvees unrecapitalized to trade in or turn in as we gain the jltb and it's a balance. obviously we can -- we'd like to update the fleet, but we want to be frugal with our resources and do the right thing. at the moment there's a bit of a tradeoff there. the longer we wait, the older the vehicles become and the more need for new vehicles. >> one last quick question. my preference has always been that we direct money for recruiting to you and you decide how best to utilize that money. there have been some efforts i know you're sponsoring indycars and nascars and so forth. you tune in and see the air national guard or air guard or army guard on the side of the car. and you do that in areas i think where the potential for
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recruiting is very high. i don't like to micro manage and tell you to spend this here and that here. is this still of value to you in terms of recruiting and whatever other gains that you might get from it? or is this something whose time has come and gone? >> senator, it's really a mart of branding. and being associated with a national brand. we do get recruits and we do run recruiting booths at sporting events, both motor sports and other sports. if you -- people don't necessarily buy tide laundry detergent because of the race car that sports the tide hood, but they do associate that product at a national level. and the army national guard
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because of the target audience that we're looking at for our band of recruits, that is an interest to those people and they see, when they watch sports on television, they see army national guard it -- it's a national branding opportunity that is of great value. the fact that the teams that the army national guard sponsors do some very, very good things for the nation and they're held in high esteem by that group of people it does lead to recruits for the army national guard. >> mr. chairman, i would hope that we wouldn't micro manage that process. let the guard decide how best to utilize whatever we give them for the branding for the recruiting and so forth. i think it attempts to say do
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this and put on this commercial ought to be left up to the people who are involved in the process and that those of us who have a preference. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. and now i'd like to recognize the chairman of the senate national guard caucus senator leahy. >> thank you. general wyatt, i noticed yesterday we saw on the news where a plane diverted -- had to be commercial jet had to land in bangor on its way to charlotte. it said fighter jets were deployed. were those guard jets? >> yes, senator they were. >> so that leads into a question i have. there's a couple lesser known cuts proposed for the air
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national guard that concern me deeply. i think it's safe to say from everything we learned without going into anything in the classified briefings we get -- it's safe to say that commercial airlines are still a target of terrorists, is that not a fair statement? >> that's correct, senator. >> and one thing that we could say the threat picture or our strategy for dealing with threats to the united states has changed and thus would drive reductions. i worry that we're addressing a -- i don't see the threat doing down. i think we should have our air
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control alert locations. and for air national guard explosive ordinance disposal pals under your purview. it looks to me what they did was hand you a bill to pay and you had to make cuts to meet those targets. do you think the air force considered the state and local impact of getting rid of our air guard bomb squads? which i don't know governors all over the country use to top when they need a bomb squads. i've certainly seen it in my own state of vermont. do you think that they thought of that? that that impacts the states pretty badly? >> i'll try to address the aca question first, senator. you're correct that that threat is still there.
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and i think that probably the discussion was could the -- according to studies that reference that are classified could the nation assume a little additional risk by cutting to the aca units, that's a discussion i'd like to have with you in a classified -- >> what i worry about is that the discuss is driven more by budgetary issues and not by a reality. >> certainly, the budget does come into play. we have to talk about what we can afford to provide and are there opportunities or places where we could take additional risk. and whether this additional risk is worth the money is a debate that -- >> i think you're going to find in the question of bomb squads. >> yes, sir. the bomb squads what we did there is we looked at the situation in iraq and
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afghanistan recognizing that we would be coming home from those wars. we did have some -- budget bogies to meet. we tried to take a look at those mission sets and capabilities that the united states needed that could be supplied by the air national guard and certainly that's one of those cape tbl is that is a dual use. it has a function in title ten, but also for the governors. i think that issue that has been highlighted with the council of governors involvement under the new processes that we have inside d.o.d. highlights the fact that we need to do a better job of communicating with the generals and the governors to get the effect of title ten decisions on the governors' ability to respond to explosive ordinance disposal. >> i think the air force especially when we're considering some of the air force has cut into the guard and
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resevens for more than the army or navy, i worry that they're not listening to some of the concerns of governors. certainly i get that from governors, both parties, senator graham does, too. it makes me wonder if you see any analysis persuasion they're relying more on the active component is going to save money or provide the air force with more capability? >> no, sir, i've not seen that analysis. >> have you asked to see that sort of analysis? >> yes, sir, i have. >> well that kind of bothers me. you're the air guard director. i think you should have been allowed to see analysis during budget preparation before the air force presented the budget proposal that substantially cuts your force based on the claims
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that they have and they haven't shown you. >> i agree, sir. you know, it's -- as we've kind of gone through this process, the thing that i guess come to the conclusion is that the analysis that i have been able to see the answer is sometim sometimes -- the conclusion season important. but as important as the answer and the conclusion are the initial going in assumptions and the methodology used in reaching that answer and the metrics for what it is that you're trying to measure. i don't think that just an answer is sufficient. i think you need to go back and take a look at the processes, the methodology, the assumptions. and that's the thing that concerns me. not only is not seeing all the analysis, but how we got to some of that analysis. >> i agree with you. i don't think that these cuts in the air guard reserves is going
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to save us money in. the long run it's going to cost us more. particularly in war torn iraq and afghanistan. that's not a capability you can turn on and off like the switch. and that's not even going in to the continental u.s. aspect required by that protection. i share the concern of a lot of the governors. they weren't listened to. we'll talk about that more in and should note you've always been very available to me and my staff when we have had questions. general mckinley, i thank you for your distinguished service as chef of the national guard bureau. i think this is going to be oufr last hearing before your retirement. you and i have been good friends. we visited both in vermont and here. you're going to be the first chief wearing four stars. the chief to get your folks a voice on the joint chiefs of
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staff. i know senator graham and i and the very large bipartisan coalition of senators take pleasure in that. you made history by transforming the guard to history with the f i just ask this. you're leaving. you can say whatever you want to say. probably knows what my question is going to be. do you think the guard would be in a very good position if we in the congress didn't kind of keep the, the pressure on the way we do? you don't have to answer that, general, but i see the grin. go ahead. >> we -- most of us in this room prefer not to build our own gallows. so in order not to do that, i will reserve some of my comments
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for my meeting with you before i leave, senator, but thanks to you and senator graham for steadfastly supporting the national guard through the senate guard caucus. quite frankly, 375 years of h history has seen the effectiveness of the national guard ebb and flow and i can only sap to you, senator, because you know it so well by visiting your members of the national guard as you all do how capable and competent these folks are and how well-led they are by their governors in state status, their adjectives general and quite frankly the support over the decades over two services, the air force and army. what i worry about most, to get to your specific question is, will the title 10 world find a way as it has not over past involvement in contingencies to
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include world war ii find a way to maintain a balance to keep the national guard, and i would add probably the reserve component in this, but they'll speak for themselves. how do we keep this magnificent capability, this low-cost, high-impact force of citizen soldiers and airmen in our case in the game, to keep their head in the game, to keep us viable, to keep the investment in our competency at a level that the nation may need and sustain as a hedge for future operations? we have to find a way, all of us do, to convince our services and the department that this investment has been a wise investment, and that this nation with less than 1% of its citizens serving its united states military deserve to have a national guard that's trained, equipped and well led, because there will be significant challenges to our nation in the future, but senator, to you and your colleagues, i can't thank you enough for what you've done to make us who we are today and
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we're very proud to serve the nation. thank you. >> i can assure you, as long as i'm co-chair of the national guard caucus, you're not going to be ignored. none of you will, and i applaud all three of you for the service you've given the country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and general, as i join the rest of my colleagues in thanking you for your leadership on so many different issues and different areas. general wyatt, i want to ask you about the recent air force proposal, which would move the 18th squadron from aislesen down to joint base elmendorf-richardson. right now this proposal looks like it will have an impact on the 168th air refueling wing to the extent that an operation
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that is currently a 24-hour a day operation, 365 days a week, that with this proposal, it may result in operations being diminished to effectively a 12-hour day, five days a week. not necessarily bankers' hours, but certainly not the kind of hours that will be required that are required for this pretty incredible, intensive refueling wing up there at islesen. general swartz reminds meep in the facts we have 23 million gallons of gas up there. it's pretty important to the overall mission. my question toll y you is, how d this proposal which would effectively reduce the operations there at islesen, how
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will this impact the guard's mission there? >> senator, i've asked that same question, you know. when you stop and think about the importance of that refueling wing a strategic location when you think of the other activity happening over the arctic as we look westward from alaska, you can very quickly recognize the strategic importance of the 168th and the role that many testimony plays in the air control alert mission for pacaf and that theater. that's one of the first questions i asked, was, if the f 16s are moved and the level of support at the air base goes down, will there be sufficient capability at that air base for the international guard to continue functioning at the level that it is now, because a lot of the dollar bills that are controlled for some of the base support that is required for my international guard unit there are not in my budget. so i don't get to make that
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call. they're in the air force budget. i have ensured that there will remain sufficient funds and sufficient services to keep the 168th playing the vital role that it does. the decision to, whether to go from a 24-hour alert, which they're currently on, to something less than that, is a call that is left to general north pacaf in consultation with norad and north com. so i can't really get into the operational decisions, but my concern would be that we have in the future as comp teretent a w as we do now. and so i watch very closely any attempts that would diminish their able to perform the mission. i wish i had a better answer for you than that. >> perhaps let me rephrase it. if, in fact, you did have to go to am reduced operation, 12 hours, could you do the mission that you believe you have to do, that you're required to do there
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in the arctic, in the north pacific? >> again, the mission requirements are set by the war fighters. if they were to make that conclusion that the 12-hour alert would be sufficient for mission accomplishment, we could do that. but that's a judgment call. again, that will need to be made by the combatant commander that obviously would take into consideration the additional risk that not having that unit on alert for 12 hours out of the day might pose to the aca mission. >> let me ask you another, then, because the 168th, i think, as we recognize, is operating at its capacity. they've reported having to decline certain missions, even within the 24-hour day period that they're operating now. the 168th has asked for additional aircraft and an active association. they've been doing so for several years now so that it can effectively do more for the mission. can you give me the status of
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any of these requests? >> ma'am, part of the recent kc 46a basing crier titeria releas tong involved the sca, for the entire refueling enterprise. not just kc-46s, kc-135s and kc-10s. one of the recommendations that came out of that study was that as we go forward in the refueling enterprise, that all of the units at some point in time transition to either active associations in the case of the 168th, or classic associations, where the guard or reserve would play the supporting role. so i think the future looks good for an active association there. the question will be the timing, and how robust that association would be. would it bring additional airplanes as part of the active
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association or would it bring additional active duty pilots, maintainers, to help robust the compacts of the wing with the existing eight airplanes? those are questions yet to be answered. >> and no -- no timeline within which to -- that we might expect those answers? >> no timeline that i'm aware of, other than a push to go to active associations and classic associations across the air mobility fleet and pacaf. >> let me ask you, general ingram, about the c-23s, sherpas, last year the army proposed the elimination of the sherpas with the belief the c-. js would replace that capability. the c-27js are now proposed to go away. are we reconsidering the future of the c-23s? >> the army has

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